Ghost in the Mirror

John Henry Pepper – the man who made science fun and entertaining…

Spiritualism was a passion in Victorian England and Science was always bubbling up something new to excite the masses. Pepper was the director of London’s Royal Polytechnic Institution, an organization that brought science to those masses.

Using the process that mimicked the optical illusion of seeing images of yourself in a dark window, he created a ‘ghost show’ that delighted audiences in Canada, Australia, England and the United States.

The ‘ghost’ was an actor below and in front of the stage. A projector was used to illuminate the actor, casting the reflection onto a mirror… and then further onto a large glass sheet that was nearly invisible to the audience… what they saw was a menacing image interacting with the actors on the stage.

This early form of tele-projection was used in a production of “A Christmas Carol” in 1862 at the Royal Polytechnic Institution.

Modern uses of this technology can be found in Teleprompters and in Disney’s Haunted Mansion.

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